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POUGHKEEPSIE, N. Y., April 19, 1882.
DEAR HERALD: Oh, goodness! I'm in awful trouble, and all on account of you, too. Do you know that my last letter to you has got me in an awful fix. I'll never, never write to a newspaper again. Oh, how the Miscellany did give it to me, and to you, too. Of course they don't know for sure that it was I who wrote the letter, but almost every one shows by their actions that they think I am the guilty one. I felt so bad after reading the article in this month's Miscellany that I just went to my room and had a real good cry. Really and truly, dear HERALD, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong when I wrote to you that way. You can imagine how I felt when I heard Daisy Randall say in a crowd (and she was looking at me just as hard as ever she could) that it was the "freshest" thing she ever heard of. But I must tell you what the Miscellany said, because I know that it will never be sent to you again, and so I will quote some of the worst things. Oh, dear HERALD! I did not for a moment think that I was writing anything naughty, or even objectionable, and to tell the honest truth, although I do think that I deserve some blame, I can't to this day see anything in the letter that is so very, very bad. I don't want to make believe that I am too naive or goody-goody, but surely something must be the matter when the Miscellany says: "It seems inconceivable that any girl who has breathed the atmosphere of Vassar College for more than a year could so forget her womanhood. We do not wish to believe that even in the ranks of the Preps., among whom the reported author is found, could exist a student so disloyal to the college, so untrue to all her better instincts. If it is true, it is a truth to make one blush for her sex." Just think of it! "Blush for her sex!" I don't believe an Amazonian virago could have felt more virtuous indignation if the postman had handed her a billet-doux without a coat-of-arms on the envelope.
But what is worse than all, is that they accuse me of being a Prep. I know there are very few worse sins than being a Prep., but really I can't help it; you've got to be one some time, and I thought I might best begin young and get through with it. The Miscellany says, as if to just crush the guilty one: "To be sure, the reported writer is a Prep.; but that is a fact of which the editors of the HARVARD HERALD are, presumably, not aware, and so Vassar College gets the credit of the production, and Vassar girls are judged by its standard. If our own girls will spread abroad such stories concerning the college, we cannot be surprised at the perpetuity of the vulgar banister, chewing-gum, and other like things."
Just what the "banister" story is, I don't know.
But the awfullest thing that happened was when the girls got together and held an indignation meeting, so to speak. At first I was going to own right up and say it was I, but they seemed so fierce in their wrath that I was almost frightened to death. I never saw such mad girls in all my life as the Miscellany editors were. They wanted to lock the doors and stay a day, a week, a month, if necessary, until the guilty wretch should confess the crime; and they would have stayed, too, if some one hadn't come and said that the expressman had just brought a box of Whitman's candy to one of them; and then they thought they could discover the culprit by asking all the innocent ones to go to the board and tell them that it was not they; and then the Miscellany got mad because only the older girls went, ("older" means here, those who are "allowed to receive callers,") and says: "We wish that the author of the article could have heard the strong expressions of sorrow made to various members of the board by the older students; we think that she might have modified her views concerning what doubtless appears to her as an exceedingly witty and brilliant achievement."
I am awfully glad that I am going away soon, because almost all the girls are mad at me, because they think I wrote it. I would so much like to know what Harvard men think about the letter. I don't believe they think it so fearfully vicious, because honestly and truly I did not mean a single bad thing. I showed the letter to a lady friend, and she said she wouldn't mind at all what the Miscellany said, and then she told me a story about the Duchess of Shrewsbury, but she said something in French, and after what the Miscellany said I'll never use French again.
I have written you so long a letter that I will not try to give you any news. I only wrote to you this time, anyway, to tell you how bad I feel for what I have done. I feel almost tempted to to go into a nunnery, and I suppose that is what I deserve for having dared to tell any tales out of school. Yours in Sorrow,
(Please put it with a very big "S,")
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